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STUDIES IN ELECTRONARCOSIS THERAPY I. Clinical Evaluation
KARL M. BOWMAN; ALEXANDER SIMON
Am J Psychiatry 1948;105:15-27.
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The Langley Porter Clinic and the Division of Psychiatry of the University of California Medical School.

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Abstract

1. Electronarcosis has been administered to a group of 53 mentally ill persons. The results of follow-up studies one month after treatment was completed may be summarized as follows: 37 cases of schizophrenia were treated, 7 recovered; 9 cases of psychoneurosis were treated, none recovered; 7 cases of manic-depressive psychosis were treated, 2 recovered. However, if one includes only cases that received 7 or more treatments, the results one month after treatment would read as follows: 31 cases of schizophrenia were treated, 5 recovered; 5 cases of psychoneurosis were treated, none recovered; 4 cases of manic-depressive psychosis were treated, 1 recovered.2. Of the 5 schizophrenic patients who received 7 or more treatments and recovered, improvement was noted at some time between the second to seventh treatment.3. It is our impression that electronarcosis is of no value in the treatment of psychoneurotics, is certainly no better than electroshock in treating the manic-depressive psychoses, and is equal to electroshock in the treatment of schizophrenia. Our series are too small for any definite conclusions to be drawn, and the above estimation of the value of electronarcosis therapy is subject to revision after we have treated a larger series of cases.4. Fractures of the spine occurred in 15 of the 53 patients treated, amounting to 28.3% of the cases. This percentage can be greatly reduced by the use of sodium amytal or by the new Glissando technique recently developed by Tietz.5. Because of the extreme rise in blood pressure that occurs during treatment, electronarcosis should not be used on patients with hypertension or cardiac disease.6. Electronarcosis is a more dangerous treatment than electroshock and is less simple to administer.

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